27 December 2014

A Year Of Travel | 2014 In Review

How this year has gone by so quickly! The year has been a bit of a whirlwind with many ups and downs, but thankfully more ups than downs. We only have a few days left of the year, as we wave goodbye to 2014 and head into the new year with a brand new attitude, I thought I would review some of what I got up to this year. I am so excited for the new year, which always brings the usual excitements and new plans for you too I hope. This year also saw me collaborate with so many other bloggers, from meeting at blogger events to guest posts and features on other blogs to publishing my travel adventures on Travel Noire(global community for black travellers). I cant wait to share plans for the coming year. Without further ado...

22 December 2014

Christmas Festivities on London Southbank

Walks on London's Southbank are what grey Sundays in the city are all about. That and the thought of embarking on a mission to check out what this years Christmas markets have brought to me to the River banks on the Thames. The markets have stalls for mulled wine, choocolate kisses, mary-go-rounds, carol singers, dutch pancakes and of course the German sausages! 

20 December 2014

Italian Gardens | The Last Autumn Sun In Hyde Park

Italian Gardens - Hyde Park

Right before I made an appears at the LDNBloggersTea session I stopped by Hyde Park for a Stroll as I still had some time to kill. The day was sunny but yet so deceiving. London has become so cold as we wait for winter to fully take hold of the city. In a bid to hold on to that cozy and warm feeling of autumn I made a dash to Hyde Park to take in a little sun and explore the beautiful Italian Gardens. 

This is a 150 year garden located across from Lancaster Gate and right at the end of the river that flows through Kensington Gardens before in becomes the Hyde Park's Serpentine. Believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to his beloved Queen Victoria. Beautifully carved marble basins with stone statues. I love wondering by on Sundays as its less busy and not a lot of people flock to this part unless you are specifically coming for the gardens or are staying nearby. If you have watched Bridge Jones: The Edge of Reason and Wimbledon you may have spotted a scene where the gardens feature as well as many other films.

17 December 2014

LDNBloggersTea | Champagne Tea At The Lancaster

Although the custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China, it has now become the quintessential of English traditions. In keeping with British traditions a Canadian and American expat have now taken on the tradition with both hands in organising meetup sessions for bloggers to network on not just a brew but rather fancy Champagne afternoon tea sessions. Selena at Oh the Places and Melanie from Sunny In London have been bringing together bloggers from across the city and outer counties to meet and mingle in some of the most prestigious of locations. You may have read about my previous session for the London Bloggers Tea at Milestone Hotel in Kensington.  

14 December 2014

Christmas Shopping With A Royal Twist

Do you know the where you can sample and buy the Queen's favourite chocolate? Who supplied the drinks on the Titanic? Or where London's oldest cheese shop is? Well neither did I until last weekend. Living in London you can sometimes take its history for granted as its always on your doorstep, so there is never any rush to really immerse yourself in it. Well a weekend ago Best LDN Walks got together a few bloggers for a reinvention of Christmas Shopping in the heart of the Westend. This was not like any Christmas Shopping experience. We were going to be sampling fine wines and liqueurs, cheese, visit one of the oldest hat shops in London all the while also learning about London's royal history. We browsed through shops where the royal family have some of the riding boats made, where some of their fragrances and groceries are made and bought. 

12 December 2014

Amsterdam's Best Food Experience You Must Try | High Wine At The Dylan

In my last post I shared with you pictures from the anniversary celebrations that involved touring Amsterdam while indulging in all the delightful foods the city has to offer while doing the Amsterdam Food Tour. Well, the anniversary weekend celebrations continued the theme around food as we ramped up the romance. This time were headed to The Dylan Hotel. They do a High Wine experience which as you may have guessed was born from its relationship to high tea experience. I have tried many an afternoon or high tea experiences, they don't know compare. This is on its own level. Dylan Hotel is housed in a townhouse with a rich history and located on one of the most famous areas of Amsterdam; Nine Streets. A fashionable and unique shopping district with a mix of designer boutiques, from vintage to modern fashion, chic little cafes and restaurants in what is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Quite befitting of a place to house a stylish and luxury hotel that is the Dylan. 

7 December 2014

Christmas Festivities | Harrods Windows

Harrods Christmas Display

Every Christmas tourists(even locals) flock to the main department stores in London to see the beautiful Christmas displays. Harrods is among the popular department stores that always has captivating displays based around various themes. All the windows are covered up just before showdown and the unveiling is tried much like an event of the season, that must not be missed! Adults and kids alike gather around the store to take in the festivities as the curtains are dropped to reveal the year's display story. Usually I avoid such places like the plaque, but as I in the area I thought I would check out what this year's creativity brought to Harrods' Christmas window displays. 

This years theme transports you to The Land of Make Believe with beautiful creations of oversized vintage toys from some of the best designers around the world.

5 December 2014

How to Eat Your Way Through Amsterdam

My dreams of travel extend far into many corners of this big 'ol world. There is one particular place I have been dreaming about for the last two years. Suriname, a country that lies in the northern-eastern of the Atlantic coast of South America. My daydreams are filled with pictures of pristine sandy beaches, coconut drinks, drank straight from the coconut itself and food full of exotic flavours that send me into unbounded spiral of wanderlust. To my surprise I had no idea the trip to Amsterdam a few weeks ago to celebrate 2 years together with a cuddly ginger would have me sampling authentic Surinamese food in the heart of Amsterdam. Not so far out of the ordinary as the Dutch colonised Suriname and with many places they travelled they returned with food rich in flavour that even today will leave dinners speechless as they quietly devour each intoxicately good bite.

3 December 2014

B Street Deli - London Cafe Gems

I am sure you have heard that old saying that someone drinking so much that they could put a brewery out of business. Well, Alcohol is not really my thing even though I love a glass of wine occasionally. When it comes to tea, I could certainly put Twinnings out of business. That’s how much I love my tea. My kitchen features teas from around the world. I have fresh tea leaves from Egypt to Hong Kong, the USA and other corners of the world, from fruit infusions to the spicy and aromatics teas and from fragrant blends to light scented herbals. This also includes teas from the good old brews brought from my nearby supermarkets. I guess you can tell just how serious this is.

28 November 2014

Adventures on Victoria Falls | Dipping Into The Devil's Pool

Victoria Falls | Dipping Into The Devil's Pool

In my last post I shared with you moments from my exploration of Livingstone Island, a World Heritage Site, which sits on the edge of the Victoria Falls. Its only been open since 1992, allowing exclusive access to get up close and personal with the falls. I also mentioned that I was going to be sharing with you pictures from the adventurous dip into the Devils Pool. The Devil's Pool is a natural pool on the edge of Victoria Falls and it's thought that it was created  by thousands of years erosion. It's beauty lies in the fact that you have a rock ledge on the edge that stops you from being swept down the 100 meter gorge by the torrents of water. Well you can wait no longer as the pictures are below. Before that a little detail on how this came about. This trip has been a long time coming and the Devils Pool even more so. I have mentioned it a couple of times now on the blog and it was between this and a bangee jump. I am glad to say the the Devils Pool won! 

25 November 2014

A Winning Combination: Be London's Guest Of Honour

Attend a Westend show with Jessie J

Fancy watching a westend show with Jessie J? Of course you do! How about raising the iconic Tower Bridge in London OR maybe visiting the museum with Prof Stephen Hawking. That's not enough? Well add afternoon tea session with a Downton Abbey star, attending a red carpet event all with transportation and hotel stay at the fabulous Radisson Blu in Mercer Street. This week I am teaming up with Visit London to bring you this amazing trip of a life time to be London's Guest of Honour for 2 whole weeks where you will experience this beautiful city while being introduced to its famous residents. Your experience will also be filmed and shared around the world. 

18 November 2014

Exploring Victoria Falls | Lunch on Livingstone Island Surrounded By Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls | Lunch on Livingstone Island

"So lovely, it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight" - David Livingstone

Although the first known Europeans to visit Zambia were the Portuguese, it is thought that David Livingstone was the first Brit to explore the Zambezi River (and gaze upon the Victoria Falls), which gives life to Mosi-oa-Tunya. This translates to The Smoke that Thunders. You might know this as Victoria Falls, renamed by David Livingstone in 1855 in honour of Queen Victoria as he stood on what is now know as Livingstone Island. In high season you wouldn't be able to stand here as it is completely submerged in sheets of water. Most Zambians and Zimbabweans still use its original name and Zimbabwe went as far as officially renaming the falls back to "Mosi-oa-Tunya" last year.

16 November 2014

Sloane Square | Saatchi on Sunday

One of my favourite galleries in London. I dont get to venture to this part of London much these days other than when I am passing through to get to Chelsea's Lomax gym for a little PT. Saatchi Gallery in the heart of the beautiful Sloane Square houses contemporary and modern art by artists from all around the world. This was my perfect Sunday escape for a little me-time. I also wanted to see the huge ants that are the stars of the show at Saatchi Gallery. Colombian Artisit Rafael Gomezbarro's installation consists of these huge insects the scale the walls of one of the rooms in the gallery and its  so cool to be able to get so close to these pieces.

12 November 2014

Tongabezi | Luxury On The Zambezi River - Part II

"The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa- for he has so much to look forward to" - Richard Mullin

The second installment on my stay at Tongabezi, on the river banks of the Zambezi. A subtropical idyll with thatched roofed exclusive lodges all but one with views of the Zambezi and little cheeky monkeys cavorting the surroundings. That's in addition to the Hippos that lazily float before you. People and animals respect each other’s distance here. With a big tub run for you to take a dip under the star lit African sky and champagne waiting on the side. Please take me back to Tongabezi this instant! How about I stop drooling over the thought of going back and tell you what’s on offer when you visit. Once you settle in you also get a chance to sit down with the activities coordinator to run through activities you would like to part take in. All included in the price of the  stay. While my boyfriend opted for the guided bike ride within the national park in the hope of also spotting some animals, I visited the local school funded by Tongabezi. We also choose to do a morning game drive and the Devils pool, which sits on the edge of the Victoria Falls (not for the faint-heart and not included in the price). Also available is candlelight dinner on the Zambezi and many more but sadly we didn’t have time to do them all.

10 November 2014

Tongabezi - Private Luxury On The Zambezi I

Tongabezi on the Zambezi - Livingstone Zambia

“When you go, choose your companions wisely. Africa is not to be wasted,” - Ernest Hemingway

There are romantic hideaways and then there is Tongabezi. Where better to enjoy a back-to-nature romance with a bit of luxury thrown in than to base yourself right on the banks of the Zambezi. If that name sounds familiar, you will no doubt know that it is the very river that gives birth to the mighty Victoria Falls - more on that to come. Tongabezi is hidden among the shadows of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. We were certainly in the mood to spoil ourselves while in Livingstone, and this place is definitely one that will spoil your mind, body, and soul - in a good way of course. Our one splurge on our 17-day tour of Southern Africa which started from Lusaka. You only live one! Livingstone was the second stop having started off in Lusaka days earlier. All the lodges at Tonagbezi have views of the Zambezi, apart from our Garden House Lodge. What it lacked in views of the river, it made up handsomely in the exclusively private pool we had to ourselves.  All the lodges are secluded offering guests privacy and comfort as if you were chillaxing in your own home and a luxury not experienced in many hotels or lodges. There are only nine lodges which mean guests are catered to with undivided attention from staff.  Have I mentioned that from the moment we arrived we were made to feel like little stars?  Oh, I did I not mention, each lodge is allocated its very own butler so to speak anything you need 24/7! Staff available exclusively to your lodge, I had died and gone to heaven...A knock on the lodge entrance brought me back to health as our breakfast arrived to be enjoyed in the comfort of our Garden House.

7 November 2014

Travellers Who Work Full-Time

I have been featured! Head on over to Different Doors and check a host of travellers who work full-time and get inspired with tips on getting the most of your holiday allowance. Not all travel bloggers quit their jobs to travel....

4 November 2014

Tower Of London | Sea Of Poppies

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red to commemorate the life of fallen British

If you live in London you will no doubt notice how the month of November is usually dedication to the Remembrance Day. This year is no different, with the Tower of London having an installation entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red to commemorate the life of fallen British and colonial soldiers. The moat around Tower of London is now covered in "sea of poppies" as well as the "sea of people" as the installation has had an overwhelming response from not only the British traveling from all over the UK but also the great number of tourists who are a flocking to the tower to get a glimpse of the poppies before they are removed on November 11.

It has taken 8,000 volunteers to place the 888,246 cermaic poppies which take 3 days to make just one. If you are hoping to snag a poppy from the moat you might be disappointed as they have now all been sold and due to be sent out to buyers from November 11. Having started the planting in July this year, when I visited the Tower they were still planting more poppies.   This is set to continue with the final planting taking place on Armistice Day.

2 November 2014

Sunday Brunch In Amsterdam

Amsterdam Cafe Dam Square

Apparently you haven't experienced the city until you have really explored it on a bicycle. Well on this particular Sunday we had no intention of over working ourselves. Don't fret though I am back in Amsterdam next month with enough time to go Dutch - cycling on the Dutchies that is. On this visit with a little time on our hands we made a short stop over in in the capital for a visit. More precisely, the Mr and I ventured out into the city for a Sunday brunch in Amsterdam. Amsterdam can be pretty busy and sometimes a tad too crowded for my liking. If you want a quite moment with a loved one, its quite easy to find a spot in the backstreets, and so we did. After strolling through the quite parts of the city and admiring the many spots of Street art, cutely parked bikes and strange combination of shops built into churches that also sell pot was rather amusing. Yep! I was somewhat puzzled too. 

29 October 2014

Colours of Autumn In Richmond Park

Richmond Park | Colours of Autumn

Autumn is here and what better way to witness this vibrant and colourful season than to take to the English parks. I have done a few posts on my walk in the park series. This past weekend I got together with a few other budding photographers and we took to the lovely Richmond Park. The weather during the week had been grey, dull and uninspiring, although Saturday wasnt anything to sing about, it did brighten up just enough to take in the colours of autumn. I was hoping to also photograph the beautiful deer in Richmond park, I didn't mind so much when they failed to turn up as I had a full rainbow of autumn colours on display. Living in the city or anyone working/keeping house...while also trying to maintain sanity in this ever so hectic and the constant connection to the digital world that is now ingrained in our lifestyle can definitely appreciate some time enjoying the open  spaces  in the parks or countryside. When I do manage to get out to the parks I usually opt for a nice walk with music, book or with neither of these so as to just enjoy the spaces and allow the mind to clear with no distractions. Then there other times I take my camera with me(hence why you get to see pictures here), for me this serves as a little reminder to keep developing my photography and experiment with the settings and make the most of the light and shadows make the outdoor spaces look so delightfully pleasing to the eye. Take in the very things that we take for granted in our day to day and sometimes miss all together because we are too busy existing instead of living. My walk in the park series serve as a reminder to stop existing and start living. I hope they do the same for you too...

27 October 2014

Dreaming of Greece...

Wanderlusting is a serious, serious illness. One that I am not seeking a cure for. I have just come back from a two-week long African holiday, as some of your may have seen my stream of pictures on Instagram and Facebook. I went right in the middle of hot and blazing summer but now that I am back to London, its like being put in a fridge having swapped warm and toasty sunshine, yes the kind of toasty that gets the serotonin juices going. At 35-40oC it was a blissful two weeks and now I am back London is grey, wet and windy,  all wrapped around the leftovers of Hurricane Gonzales. So you can’t blame a girl when she is already day dreaming about a girly trip to sunnier destinations.

24 October 2014

Zambian Heritage | Kabwata Cultural Village

If you are heading over to Zambia don’t just head straight to Livingstone thinking that is all there is to see of the country. Zambia’s capital is beaming with culture and activities to part take in. There are day trips available to Kafue’s river side or exploring the local markets like Soweto market or seeing the bustling in Cairo road. A great tip for Cairo road is to go there on the weekend as the weekdays there is traffic like no other! If you are a lover of retail therapy then head to the malls. What you should not miss out on though, is Kabwata’s Cultural Village. Home to some 70 woodcarvers, basket weavers and artists who showcase their creative spirit in the products they make. This place is not just for tourists, locals in and around Zambia know about this little national treasure. If you are visiting Livingstone many other towns, you will find that you cannot haggle too much with the prices as a lot of those wooden carvings are made here, the buy from here and resell in Livingstone and many other areas on the country.

20 October 2014

Intercontinental | Capital Pleasures In Lusaka

There is a certain allure to the notion of traveling in Africa with many associating Africa with just safaris,  but there is more to this continent than just exploring national parks in search of the big five.  While a safari was certainly on our itinerary, we were going to be exploring the capital's hot spots first before the big 5. To really experience a destination you have to meet the locals, check out their hangouts and that was the main plan for the first few days in the country.  Thats exactly what I had in mind for my travel partner.

Arriving right in the middle of the hot Zambian summer(and month of independence day celebrations - hence the flags) we were immediately welcomed with a cool breeze from the whispers of water flowing from the fountains as we stepped out of the car onto the entrance of Intercontinental.  I planned a 17-day trip around Southern Africa which would cover Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia and involving several modes of transportation. This was also going to be the first time my boyfriend was visiting my home country as the first part of this year was dedicated to introducing me to his home country in Israel, which we explored in much of April.  With our journey through southern African starting in Lusaka, Zambia's capital I opted to book us into Intercontinental Hotel

16 October 2014

Top 10 Things To Do In Edinburgh

Where ever you are in the world, no doubt you would have seen or head about the campaign to keep the Untied Kingdom together with arguments for and against Scotland staying part of the union. Well that argument has now been settled and the people of Scotland said no to independence. A shame in my eyes, but I don't live in Scotland so that vote doesn't count. You can certainly understand why they are all fighting about it, because Scotland and more specifically, Edinburgh is just full of it! Full of amazing sights that is. It's city reeking with historical charm and mystery from every corner you turn. Most attractions are largely based on historic stories and legends, so don't be surprised if within minutes of arriving into the city you see people dressed in custom with a crowd in tow as they lively tell tales of noble men and women that came before them. So where does one even start in a city that's full of it - full of beautiful sights to explore. Don't fret, here are my top 10 things to do in Edinburgh.

16 September 2014

Quick Guide To London's Little Venice | Canals, Boat Trips, Restaurants & Tours

Little Venice Boat Tour

A city that has inspired many a romantic poem, paintings, and architecture. Venice is glorious, seductive and timeless in its beauty and appeal. If you manage to avoid the crowds, you can spend a day getting lost in the cultural districts and marvel at historic and charming displays of art that is on offer or you can take to the streets and mingle with Venetians or maybe wine and dine where locals dine. With that picture in mind, if you scale it down a little bit(maybe a lot!) and change destination to London we should have ourselves Little Venice in the midst of a bustling London. 

5 September 2014

Countryside Escapes and Hideaways

British Countryside Escapes and Hideaways - Camping Cottage Yurt

There is something about the countryside air and days spent enjoying the company of friends with rolling countryside views to boot. I would never have thought to have a birthday celebration camping in the wilderness but when my boyfriend's friends suggested a weekend around the fire I raised an eyebrow. Considering my usual posts, camping is not something I do all the time but I am no stranger to a campsite at all. It's just that Birthdays are synonomous with booze filled celebrations and hangovers(that's not a confession by the way), but I was certainly up for a weekend getaway. Having just dodged an Ikea DIY disaster we set off on the two and a half hour drive leaving London's concrete jungle in favour of some RnR with Mother Nature. The weather was set to be on its best behaviour for the weekend which was a deciding factor for me.

2 September 2014

Travel & Fitness | Clever Ways To Stay Healthy On The Road

Travel & Fitness | Clever Ways To Stay Healthy On The Road

Perhaps the folks at Currys spotted some of my home-made fruit juice concoctions on my Instagram because I was invited to a nutritional event a few weeks back.  As much as I love exploring I also love the joy that comes with tasting new food in the places that I explore. Like that gorgeous Scottish Lamb Wellington at the Secret Garden with full-on dangerously delicious dessert or that tour that had me eating my way through London and left the hips in fear of what sort work out would be in order to work it off. Also throw in how my friend and I demolished a cheese cake platter in Berlin's Barcomi. I have tried to make myself believe that calories consumed whilst on holiday or weekend getaways don't actually stick but I tell you, the hips don't lie!

28 August 2014

The Witchery By The Castle | Combine Culture With Fine Dining

The Witchery by the Castle

My weekend escape to Edinburgh was filled with long walks around a town that oozes atmosphere and sophistication in its mystery from the history its inherited. Edinburgh like any popular city will have a ton of eating options from your usual globalised eatery brands to the uniquely local. I love a unique dinning experience and have sometimes travelled miles just for the indulgence. Check out my dinning experience on Spitbank Fort -  a man-made island on the Solent.   Living in London, one of the world's most popular cities, when it comes to food, you can get pretty much anything. This applies to Edinburgh too. On this occasion I didn't want the usual eatery I could find any and everywhere. I had my eyes firmly locked on one place. I guess you can say I was bewitched from the moment I found out about it.

23 August 2014

Weekend Escape in Edinburgh

princess street gardens -Edinburgh

Its been quite for a little bit hasn't it?! Sorry for a little bit of the radio silence. That's not for the lack of travelling. Oh no, there is always, always time for a getaway whether a weekend or maybe two. I started another project at work so that's had me on my toes for a little bit while I got up to speed on what we will be doing on the project with the client. In the mean time I certainly hope you enjoyed my photo diary of Hong Kong and my tales of Retail Therapy and  Haggling in China's Guangzhou. All work and no play would make Bee a very dull Bee so of course my busy week work was broken up with a weekend of play in beautiful and weather-challenged Edinburgh. I also took another weekend to hide out on the borders of Somerset and Wiltshire's beautiful countryside yurts. So look out for that post.

30 July 2014

China | Food, Retail Therapy and Haggling in Guangzhou

Guangzhou - Lonely Planet - China

Guangzhou, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in Southern China. Located on the Pearl river, its apparently the first city most travellers to China visit. It certainly was in my case as I visited while on a break from the hectic explorations of Hong Kong's bustling metropolis. This city is a key national transportation hub and trading port made obvious by the haze of smog that hovers over the  city.  It was originally known as Canton and is the home of Cantonese cuisine. So expect great food but a word of warning to the wise, for those in search authentic Cantonese food bring a fork! Most food spots serve food with chopsticks, which I can't hold to save my life! So I ended up eating with those little ceramic Chinese spoons, which was a cause for a few comedic moments and laughter at my expense in the little restaurants around town. Lessons for my next visit of course, but I came back with lots of chopsticks so I can put in some practice at home.

23 July 2014

Symphony of Lights | Things To Do In Hong Kong

symphony of lights hong kong

Hong Kong is just like London, both cities are just as awake during the night as they are in the day. Hong Kong does not sleep at night. The city is still busy and bustling as if to prepare for the morning and with that, many things to do in Hong Kong, day or night. When morning comes, it's more bustling and when evening approaches yet more bustling - but this time with a  little bright treat! It's just so beautiful and so the exploring continues into the night for more sights to set upon the eyes. In this case the Symphony of Lights!

If you are in Hong Kong there is no double you will one to add this on your list of things to do in Hong Kong. This is Hong Kong's famous symphony of lights; a multimedia light show that comprises of five themes; Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership, and Celebration. These celebrate the diversity, energy, and spirit of Hong Kong. Also named as the 'Worlds largest Permanent Light and Sound Show', while in Hong Kong you cannot miss the lights as the lasers can be seen from miles away. After mingling around the city exploring and eating my weight in food in Kowloon's food district it was time to head down to Victoria Harbor to rest my feet, let my food to settle before dessert and catch the Symphony of Lights show. These are some shots taken from Kowloon looking on Hong Kong Island's light show.

If you have seen the light show, what did you think of it?

17 July 2014

Day Trips From Hong Kong | Exploring Lantau Island With Big Buddha

Lantau Island | Big Buddha & Twelve Divine Generals HK

After days of city living in on HK island and Kowloon it was time to branch out to Outlying Islands. I embarked on a trip to Lantau Island to visit Big Buddha.  Travelling by train to Tung Chung, and with the cable car out of service for maintenance just 24 hrs before my trip, I changed transportation to a coach service at Tung Chung station to reach the Po Lin Monastery and then Big Buddha.  Winding roads form a mountainous backdrop of beautiful lush green valleys. Phoenix Mountain being the highest peak of these mountains stretches to 935 meters high. The second highest peak in Hong Kong but the most popular spot for tourists visiting Lantau Island for climbing in order to view and admire sunrise and sunsets from its peak. Lantau Island is among the 234 islands belonging to Hong Kong SAR with only a few these inhabited. 

11 July 2014

Must Do's In Hong Kong | High Tea At The Ritz Carlton Hotel

Hong Kong: Lunch Date at Ritz Carlton  CAFE 101

I shared with recently my visual diary of my visit to Hong Kong, from exploring Kowloon and Hong Kong Island as well as experiencing Hong Kong's famous Symphony of Lights on Victoria Harbor. I also managed to squeeze in a day trip from Hong Kong to visit Big Buddha on Lantau Island, this is where you will find Big Buddha perched on a mountain. I was in the city to see a friend of mine get married but will I was there I took the time to explore as I was flying solo on this trip. A few days after the wedding I caught up with the bride and groom for afternoon tea in the beautiful Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Stepping out of the car at the hotel you are immediately drenched in stunning views of the Victoria Harbor. Tittering quickly out of the humid to seek refuge in the hotel's air conditioned surroundings. Beautiful and elegantly decorated, Cafe 103, sits on the 103rd floor of the Ritz Carlton. Ritz Carlton is in the International Commerce Centre(ICC) tower and occupies floors 102 to 118. Arriving early I was shown to the table. At this point, I am now 490 meters above sea leave with truly phenomenal views of the city and coastline of Hong Kong and beyond.

5 July 2014

Visual Diary | Discover Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Lunch Date at Ritz Carlton

Have you ever been some where that gave you an ever lasting feeling of joy each time you thing about it or when you hear someone mention the place? Well, Hong Kong gives me those goose bumps each time I think about it. My trip to Hong Kong came about at a time when things just seem to have somehow just clicked. I some how felt at peace with things, achieved some weird and wonderful life balance and abundantly joyful - it's that emotion that is evoked when I think about how I was feeling while I was there and have since attached it to this beautiful city. I had just moved back to London from a stint in Hampshire, I was climbing, happily and forever indulging in endless talks of cool and on-trend techy stuff at work. Embarking on a solo trip to Hong Kong whilst in a state of euphoria made everything I experienced in the city feel that much more special a little surreal. Racing around the airport at 2am when I arrived, next morning I woke up at the Marriott to a view of Victoria Harbour complete with emerald waters, ferries and speed boards bopping up and down the coastline as if for my own amusement.

2 July 2014

Bathing Beauties on Butler's Wharf

Bathing Beauties on Butler's Wharf - london tower bridge

The whole world has been Rio crazy lately, over the football cup in Rio de Janeiro. London is no exception, so you will find lots of excited fans from all around the world celebrating and chanting all around London. Sad that Zambia didn't make it to the cup and my second team(England) was embarrassingly taken down. Well, I guess we can always look on the bright side; both my teams avoided being chewed up by the Suarez biting season.

29 June 2014

Dream Trip Challenge - Planning A Safari Adventure


With the summer coming, its that time of year when people plan for the holidays, whether beach holidays, city escapes, adventurous trips and in my case a safari trip. I have been dreaming about this trip for far too long. It's OFFICAL! I am off to Zambia, Nambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Although not necessarily that order. I am all booked and ready to roll this September. Like many, booking such a trip you always wonder how you are going to get there once you land, what to expect, and more importantly, where you are going to stay. The fun is all in the planning.

27 June 2014

Dubai | A Visual Diary

Dubai | A Visual Diary

Dubai, the land of opulent hotels, glorious sunshine, amazing food and of course the glamours shopping. Its the most popular or the 7 Emirates. You may have read my top 10 things to do in Dubai. This is a visual diary of some of the un-posted pictures from the trip to Dubai. Everything is done on a grander scale in Dubai, from dancing fountains, Sky slops in malls, to 7 start hotels, man-made islands in the shape of world countries, worlds tallest building, which by the way Saudi Arabia is planning on snatching soon with plans of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. You cannot help but be impressed with the development in Dubai; a land the arose from the desert to this great big metropolis that houses the biggest and best of everything.

25 June 2014

War of the Roses

When summer comes to London I love how everything about the way buildings are bathed in this beautiful glow and people seem even more smiley. We instantly forget just how crappy the weather usually is for a moment and just enjoy the bright weather. This means abandoning the underground and buses and just walk a bit more because guess what, its not RAINING! That's not to say a brolly is not hidding in the bag. In the excitement of the sun making a come back and an attempt at easing itchy feet from travel wander-lusting, I am making more of an effort to embrace the beautiful spots that London has to offer on my little walks. I enjoy the parks in London come rain or shine, so from having them, sometimes, all to my self in the colder or wet season, to having more company in the summer as more people take to the parks with couples picnicking and boys and girls playing sports in the parks.

20 June 2014

Floating in Israel's Dead Sea

Floating in Israel's Dead Sea

I hope I haven't spoiled you too much with pictures from my road trip around Israel. One of our last stops a few days before leaving Israel was of course the Dead Sea. Also known as the Salt Sea. You cannot visit the Holy Land and not visit the Dead Sea. Why, it would almost be sinful. The Dead Sea serves as a backdrop for many events in biblical times. A place of refuge for King David who hid from King Saul, the prophet Ezekiel had visions here and this was also a health resort for Herod the Great. The story of Masada also happened only a stone's throw from here and overlooks the Dead Sea and a striking sight set in Israel's Judean Dessert combining history, geology and archaeology. 

13 June 2014

Middle-Eastern Weekend |Tales From Tel Aviv

Middle-Eastern Weekend |Tales From Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is vibrant and alive with buzzing culture, a beautiful sun-kissed Mediterranean promenade filled with sun worshipers in an unexpectedly modern city. With traffic gridlocks that would match that of London, its a good thing too that you have the equivalent of Boris bikes in Tel Aviv. This makes exploring a lot easier but we took to the sights on foot after parking the car. In about 5 years time you will be able to explore the whole of Israel on a bike with the proposed 100km national bike trail. The promenade is filled with skaters and runners, ice-cream touting kids on the block, cafes, restaurants, designer shops and night clubs, most of which are open 24 hours. Tel Aviv also seems to be a place where a lot of Israelis living out of town come for weekend entertainment and relation. The city also comes alive at night with party-loving Tel Avivans mingling in the coolest bars around town.

7 June 2014

Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens

Haifa | Peace and Harmony in the Ba'hai Gardens

While road-tripping around Israel I also had my sights on Haifa, a city located north of Israel and the third largest city after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As we were staying in Shlomi, the drive was only about an hour if not less. With a population of a quarter of a million you will find all religions living in harmony here. One religion in particular that takes the show in Haifa is the BaHai Faith. A monotheisic religion that emphasizes the spiritual unity of humankind - basically that we all have the same spiritual sources and come from the same God, that all humans are equal, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. I can't argue with that. If only we as people operated that way, the world would be far more peaceful today. Also considering that Israel's population is mainly made up of Jews, it's quite astonishing to find Bahai taking center stage in Haifa with the beautiful gardens on Mount Carmel. Nearly a million people visit the gardens each year, but the faith is still considered relative new. Started by a Persian 200 years ago, spreading from Iran now with 7 million practitioners around the world today, its a shame that believers are still being persecuted in countries such as Iran and many others in the Middle East. The first leader of the faith was shunned by the Shia clergy and executed in less than 10 years of the movement starting.

The efforts to increase fellowship were continued, which led to the name Baha'u'allah by Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri who also wrote to Pop Pious IX, Queen Victoria, Napolean III but he too was also banished to the Ottoman Empire's most infamous prisons located in Akko(Arce). This was after fleeing from persecution in Tehran, Istanbul, Badgbad and with conflict between the Babis(practioners of Bahai faith) arising it also wasn't long before the Ottoman authorities banished Bahais to Acre in Palestine(1868), the city is now part of Israel. This is also another beautiful city I visited while I was in Israel(post to come). It is considered to be one of the world's oldest cities to have been constantly inhabited and now seen as the birthplace of the Bahai faith. Each follower of the religion is required to make at least one pilgrimage to two of the most holy sites; in Haifa and Akko both of which are in Israel.

3 June 2014

48 hours in Jerusalem

48 hours in Jerusalem - Israel

Within the walls of the Old Jerusalem there are sites of the world's most significant religious sites, all split into quarters: Muslim, Armenian, Jewish and Christian. All with layers upon layer of history just waiting to be uncovered, touched and experienced in full and total immersion. They say that a trip to Jerusalem changes you. Well, that was according to my boyfriend. Benjamin Disraeli said, "The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of the earth and of heaven". So you can just imagine my excitement when we finally made the 3-hour drive from Shlomi to Jerusalem. I was delighted to finally be visiting the city after dreaming about it for so long. To be taking the route that Christ took carrying the cross on his shoulders before crucifixion. Now, I don't think you have to be religious to understand just what an important city Jerusalem is. Its a place of intense sanctity for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Considering how significant this place for many religions it is a real shame that we can't all peacefully enjoy or benefit equally from it without many of the conflicts that have spewed here. 

1 June 2014

Champagne and Scones - Afternoon Tea At Milestone

Champagne and Scones - Afternoon Tea At Milestone LONDON

I am one of those people who take their tea drinking very seriously. With a cupboard few of teas from around the world, so when there was mention of meet up with a brew thrown in I was not going to let the occasion pass.  I couldn't say no when Selena, a Texan living in London and one of the bloggers I met when I was in Newcastle at the beginning of the year was organising an afternoon tea for London bloggers at the Milestone Hotel in Kensington. The hotel sits across from Kensington Palace where the very ritual of afternoon teas was born, so there was no better place to engage in conversations of the blogosphere with some 20+ other ladies than over a tea party across from where Her Majesty's tea receptions took place. 

28 May 2014

Shlomi | A Sanctuary Overlooking Lebanese Mountains

Shlomi | A Sanctuary Overlooking Lebanese Mountains

My 100th post!!! How fitting that I finally get to post pictures from my trip around Israel on my 100th. I have been a little overwhelmed with pictures from trips I have taken but not yet posted about. Looking through them and trying to decide what to post first has caused me to steer clear from them, instead I opted for what seemed easier; London. I hope you enjoyed posts covering some of my favorite spots in London. This is a first of a series of posts showcasing some of the places I visited in Israel.

26 May 2014

Liebster Award!!

Well, how'bout that! I have just been nominated for the Liebster award. I am super honored and chuffed that fellow bloggers have taken a shine to my corner of travel tales in and around London as well as my worldly trips. I am grateful to bloggers Dave Cole and Brianna Simmons for nominating me. I am slightly behind schedule with this post as Dave nominated me a week ago and I just received another nomination from Brianna in the inbox this morning. This is me getting my act together and properly acknowledging the honor. Thank you to the both of you.

23 May 2014

A Walk In The Park | Secrets in Regents Park

A Walk In The Park | Secrets in Regents Park

As part of my series to the 'A walk in the park' posts, its not everyday you can  have a picnic with your very own live music entertainment on tap without paying a ridiculous sum of money. Well, two weekends ago I was just that lucky. Myself, my partner in crime aka Mr Awesome and a few friends gathered in Regents Park to chase the sun out of the shadows in the beautifully colourful park. One of the largest green areas in the heart of good old London town. Its home to an Open Air Theatre, London Zoo, cafes and restaurants scattered around the green to quench your thirst should you need to refresh after taking on the 410 acres of lush greenery, gardens, lake with boating area and romance themed fountain sculptures.

17 May 2014

Sunset Walks on Portsea Island

Sunset Walks on Portsea Island - Portsmouth

This is the third installment of posts on my recent visit to Portsmouth. I used to, and still do love walks just before the sun sets. I particularly love walking between 5-7 as you catch the sun in its most glorious and glowing state. The warm tones just give a sense of warmth about them and everything has a sun-kissed yellow tone from the sun's reflection.

13 May 2014

Portsea Island

Spinnaker  tower, a 170-meter landmark tower PORTSMOUTH

In my last post I shared shots taken while exploring the Spitbank Fort, a man made Island off the coast of Portsea Island. Before heading out to the fort I took sometime to visit some of the old hangouts when I lived in Portsmouth. Noted for being UK's only island city as its mostly on Portsea Island. Home to more than two hundred thousand people, its easy to forget that its an island but it's separated from mainland via a small channel know as Portsbridge Creek.

Portsmouth is also home to the Spinnaker  tower, a 170-meter landmark tower with a similar design to Burj Al Arab. If you follow my Instagram you would have seen me sky walking a good 100 meter plus high up, on see-through glass!  You if you have a fear for heights then it might not be your thing as a few people were too scared to even be near the glass while on the viewing deck. A waste of the £8 entry if you ask me. If that's not enough of an adventure for you, then you can try out the abseiling on the tower, held during summer months. You have to sign up early though as the places fill fast. It appears I am not the only one who gets off on climbing things. I will have to wait until next year for that challenge.

8 May 2014

Spitbank Fort | Secrets of The Solent

Spitbank Fort | Secrets of The Solent

The shores of Southsea on Portsea Island can be somewhat chemeleonic. Being part of the UK it does not escape from the ever changing weather, its the transporting views on a beautiful coastline that stretches of for miles that I immediately fell in love with back in 2003. I guess you can say it was love at first sight. The following year I moved to Portsmouth on Portsea Island, Southern coast of England. On long summer days I could easily spend the day out on the seafront watching sailboats play catch with the wind, ferries transporting islanders to Calais in France or watch cruise liners pass through with passengers hoping for a short break from cabin fever. The beauty that comes with living so close to the sea side and a break from the concrete jungle of London life is what inspired the move to Portsmouth.

My visit back to Portsmouth this time was for a Sunday lunch date on the Spitbank Fort. Not many people know about this place. On the coastline of Portsea Island lies the secrets of The Solent. I got to spend the day exploring one of the secrets. Spitbank Fort is one of four forts that was originally constructed to defend the British from Napoleon's army in the 18th century. Days of fighting have long gone and these abandoned forts have now been renovated, with one turned into a museum, one is solely owned, with the other two turned into luxury hotels. One of which is the Spitbank Fort and the other twice as big, opening its doors this Autumn.

One can only get to the forts by boat, so transportation was from the Royal Clarence Marina on Gosport. Floating passed the beautiful Spinnaker tower and sailors no doubt testing out their boats in readiness for Cowes week this coming summer. With a tricky entry onto the fort due to rough seas, on arrival we were met with glasses of wine and canapes. Then a tour of the fort with a little historical detail of the living conditions of the soldiers that guarded the seas from within the fort. You cannot help but admire the old generation for building such a fantastic structure in the sea, with the little the technology they had compared to what we can achieve today, and it still stands today. There is so much history within the walls. Touring the fort and watching ferries and speed boats sail passed we had worked up an appetite, so it was time to retreat to the dining room for lunch served with a side of Spit water! An interesting name for sure, but I assure you its not literal. There is a spring running 401 feet beneath the fort so you can quench your thirst with Spitbank(shortened to Spit) water, freshly bottled on site too. With conversations effortlessly flowing with other guests at the table and dessert beautifully caressing each and every taste bud you could be forgiven for your mind drifting off into a dreamy state filled with all things sweet and nice.

The fort was beautifully transformed from a neglected sea fort, to one that has a luxurious coziness to it with a mix of a nautical theme and some original furniture items for its hay day. A relaxing lounge, recreation room, outdoor heated pool with stunning sea views, a fire pit to cozy up to and a bar to toast the night away you would wish never to leave the fort. After much needed Sunday rest and relaxation on the fort it was time to head home and leave the overnight guest to enjoy enjoy their humble aboard.

The secret is now out of the bag. If you have not head of the forts on The Solent then you need get your fingers busy on Google so you can get you and your special someone over to Spitbank Fort stat! You will thank me for it. In the meantime some pictures from my exploration of the fort...

3 May 2014

Post Cards From Desenzano | Why You Need To Visit Italy's Post Card Cute Towns On Lake Garda

Desenzano |  Post Cards From Lake Garda

In my last post; 48 hours in Milan,  I mentioned that I wasn't too impressed with Milan. Beautiful spots with friendly locals and yet it just didn't impress me. You might have visited Milan are now asking yourself if I am totally blind to all that beautiful architecture, the great food at that lovely little restaurant that you are dying to keep secret but will tell me anyway(leave the name and location in the comments below). Anyway, as I was saying, in my defence I started with Desenzano before heading to Milan. Perhaps I will do Milan first then Desenazno on my next venture to the Lombardy region of Italy. It was a bit like heading back into London's hustle and bustle after a relaxing holiday.

29 April 2014

48 Hours in Milan | Visual Diary

48 Hours in Milan | Visual Diary

The city was sunny and warm with smiley locals everywhere we turned. Milan is beautiful and cris-crossed with trams making exploring the city's attractions fairly easy but I still cannot put my finger on why I wasn't too impressed. Perhaps, visiting Lake Garda a few days before might have something to do with it. I was spoiled in the one of Italy's riviera region, with great lake views within a few steps from my hotel. Relaxing surrounds and fresh food and not the kind that i passed up as fresh just to fool tourists.  If you havent been to any of the towns around Lake Garda then you need to contact EasyJet, BA, RyanAir or whichever airline takes your fancy as this place is stunning! Anyway that's my next post.